"The United States Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by Executive Order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our Nation’s most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Each year, up to 141 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the Nation’s highest honors for high school students. In honoring the Presidential Scholars, the President of the United States symbolically honors all graduating high school seniors of high potential." (Presidential Scholars Foundation)
According to spokesperson Dana Perino, the president made certain to remind the student that "the United States does not torture and that we value human rights."